My Journey to the world of DSLR

Well well well, how to put it. When I am still in primary school, I LOVE to take photograph especially when I am out traveling. During that time, digital cameras are still non existence, and everyone are using film camera.

The same goes to me. I spend a lot of money in buying film, and after take the pictures liao spend money again to wash it out. However, I am in utter disappointment almost everytime. I hate my photography skills, and since most of my shots are flowers, animals and landscapes during that time, I find that I rather get postcard is better.

Ever since, I hate photography and I stop buying film. After some time, digital cameras had become mainstream. However, I still did not get one and everytime out traveling, I will be using my friend’s camera. Besides, soon camera phones had appear in the market, and I got more excuse not to buy a digital camera, since I don’t need all the hassle to take so much stuff when I am out.

However, at 26th April 2009……

Test-1

Yea, my very first digital camera! The Fujifilm FinePix F200 EXR is in my hand. I bought it at RM1250 at a camera shop in Sunway Carnival, Penang. The reasons I bought this is because I started blogging that time, and I am thinking to change my blog to a food blog. I want to take shots that make people hungry and make people suffer! Using just my punny 2.0 MP iPhone 3g camera can’t do that, especially when most of the time my shots are taken in low light condition. Hence, my purchase is justify, at least that’s what I am thinking.

The F200 EXR is a fine camera, 12MP with 28mm wide angle and 5X zoom, with good auto function, it serves me well. I started trying to understand aperture and shutter speed, however, due to the manual function is really too lacking, I gave up. At that point of time, I am thinking, I really should get the LX3, but too bad, so end up I use the Auto mode all the time! At this point of time, I also swear that NO way in hell I will get a DSLR, it’s just too bulky, too big, too heavy, too blah blah and shits. Besides, holding such a big gun will also lead to people thinking you are some kind of reporter and such,or thought you are a professional and start asking you loads of questions. Besides, I am also worry that some shop may bar you from taking pictures if you do so since it’s not discrete at all.

Besides, I always say those uncle/aunty/ah ma/ah gong/kid/teens that holding a DSLR is a sohai, as for what la, holding such big thing for photography, oey meh? Really can help improve picture quality so much meh? Aiyo, I is want fast fast take shot then eat la, I don’t want waste time set this set that la. Using auto, compo angle abit, shot, gao dim can eat.

However, 1 week before Chinese New Year in year 2010, I bought this baby back home.

2010.05.05 Product Shot -  Canon EOS500D + Canon 50mm f1.8 II-1

Yes, the Canon EOS 500D, I bought my first DSLR. I skip the 18-55mm kit lens, and go straight to the 50mm f1.8 II. It cost me RM2970 (includes a Crumpler 5MDH and 8GB Sandisk SD card) from Photo Easy Cam at Penang. Ever since, I am 1 of those guy hugging a huge camera out to restaurant. When skill is lacking, the time I took to take a picture of my food greatly increase. No more I can just care about composition, now I must worry about all the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Sometimes compo nice nice already, then when look into the LCD screen, only notice that aiya, too dark. Have to take again.

This had greatly annoyed those that dine with me, especially my parents, when they now need to wait even longer to eat when food is served. Thanks god LY is very patient, and wait for me every time. Haizz, noob ma, sorry lo. Sometimes really too low light ma, if aperture set too wide, then DOF too shallow, people can only see 1 small piece of roasted pork in my hokkien mee got what use? Besides I also always made the mistakes newbie always do (till now still the same for me), rarely pump ISO to 1600 or more, so lagi teruk lo, plus my hand is not steady enough, haizz…..

Besides, when using a DSLR, people will always think that with such a expansive camera, surely it can do everything. It was the first day of Chinese New Year, when my relatives are expecting me to take a group family photo of 20++ person inside the house? Wa fark? How am I going to do so with my 50mm? My back already stick to the wall already but still the 2 person on the right and left can’t fit in! I was then pawn by my cousin D40 with a Tamron 18-200mm….sigh, Canon Lose to Nikon liao.

Although the 50mm f1.8 II is very good in low light, but for me, for food photography I rarely shoot at wide open aperture as the depth of field will be way too shallow of my liking. The 0.45m minimum focus distance of the 50mm f1.8 II really make my life troublesome. At many times I find that I need to back up a bit or else my food will be too close for the lens to be able to focus. This is very annoying especially if you are dining in a pack restaurant. At this point of time, I started to regret, I really should get the 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens that come with my camera since it allows me to focus as close as 0.25m. If I got that lens, with a wide angle of 18mm, I won’t be pawn by my cousin’s Tamron 18-200mm already! Grrrr….!

However, no way I am getting back the 18-55mm now since I ditch it once. A good cow never eat back the old grass, so no, I won’t!

Being keep on poisoned from peeps at the Photography forum in Lowyat.net, I decided, it’s time to splurge. I also keep on telling myself, I will upgrade to full frame soon, as in real soon, EF-S lens won’t work for me, I want a L, and I need it. I also keep on saying, aiya f2.8 no use la, I won’t shoot at it also. Lowest I shot also at f4 la.

Hence on 20th March 2010, by swiping the plastic, and using the future RM2870, the Canon 17-40mm f/4 is mine!

Test-2

Yippie! The 17-40mm f/4 L USM lens have a minimum focus distance of only 0.28m, which means I can literally sit in front of my food, take up my camera and shot real close. So gone the days I need to stand up, walk back a few steps to take a shot.

Being able to shot at wide angle help loads too! So gone the days I need to press my back on the wall when taking family shots inside the house too!

With the 500D being a 1.6x crop camera, the 17-40mm is actually giving me a zoom range of 27.2-64mm, a pretty good range for me. Besides, since it’s a USM lens, it focus really fast and extremely quiet too. Especially from someone like me who are so used to the noisy 50mm f/1.8, I am so not used to it.

Yes, although I can’t use the full potential of the supposedly ultra wide lens on my 500D, but being solidly build and not heavy at all, it had become my walk-around lens.

However, being able to focus fast in the dark, being able to focus quietly, having a shorter minimum focus distance do help, but it does not solved my main problem – how to take nice picture in a restaurant where the lightning is so poor?!

No, f/4 is not big enough.

No, I still hate shooting at high ISO, and sometimes, even when set at f/4 @ ISO3200, the picture is still not bright enough.

No, my hand is not steady, and I already shooting at 1/60 s, going lower will usually end up with not so sharp picture.

And NO, bringing a tripod (even those mini Joby Gorillapod) to a restaurant, setting is up is way way too troublesome and time consuming.

And again NO, on camera flash sux big time!

And then, I learned about flash bouncing…….

To be continue…..

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